The intensity goes up. It’s just different from the regular season, and every mistake you pay for it and you have to be ready for 48 minutes. —Jazz guard RIcky Rubio on the playoffs
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Utah Jazz started film session around noon on Tuesday, then hit the court for practice until roughly 2:30 p.m. at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.
As players exited the arena for the team bus, one guy stuck around: Ricky Rubio.
For another 30 or so minutes, the Spanish floor general put in extra shooting work with Jazz video analyst Steve Klei.
From step back jumpers, mid-range shots, corner 3-pointers to shooting off the dribble, Rubio went through a routine of situations he might see again on the court against Oklahoma City in Game 2 Wednesday.
As Rubio shot, Klei rebounded.
“It’s fun,” Rubio said after the workout, while gathering his belongings.
The extra work is necessary for Rubio as he struggled in Game 1, going 5 for 18 with 13 points in his playoff debut on Sunday. Utah lost to the OKC Thunder, 116-108, but Rubio did get a chance to experience the postseason atmosphere for the first time in his seven-year career.
“The intensity goes up,” Rubio described. “It’s just different from the regular season, and every mistake you pay for it and you have to be ready for 48 minutes.”
Although Rubio is going through his first NBA playoff series, he is no stranger to big games. The 27-year-old has been playing professional basketball since the age of 14 in Spain.
He has won EuroLeague, Spanish League, FIBA EuroChallenge and ULEB Cup championships with clubs overseas and competed with Spain during the 2017 FIBA EuroBasket. Still, the NBA is different and now he has an experience to pull from.
“Well, I played in the type of atmospheres where they throw you coins and they throw you a lot of stuff in Europe,” Rubio said. “With that stuff, I think Europe wins, but the intensity on the court was something I’ve never played, 48 minutes of high intensity, and every ball and everything matters, and we’re doing that.”
Rubio knows he has to continue to stay aggressive, but that doesn’t always involve taking a boatload of shots in the process.
For Rubio to put up extra shots after practice shows his dedication and that he really wants to play better in Game 2 on Wednesday at 6 p.m. versus the OKC Thunder.
“Some of them were good shots, some of them not, and I just have to do a better job on getting involved with some of my teammates sometimes and do a better job as a point guard,” Rubio said. “Knowing when to shoot and when to pass the ball. I was trying to be a little over-aggressive sometimes, and sometimes what team needs is what this team has been doing all season long, playing as a team.”
BETTER PAY: Player salaries in the NBA G League are set to increase for the 2018-19 season. Under the new regime, guys will make $7,000 per month or $35,000 for the five-month regular season with opportunities for bonuses through NBA call-ups, performance awards and playoff appearances.